Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022

PSEG falls short on green-energy engagement with customers, survey says

PSEG falls short on green-energy engagement with customers, survey says

PSEG scored in the bottom third of a J.D. Power survey that ranks the nation’s top 35 electric utilities on customer awareness and support for green-energy programs, particularly those that require consumer participation.

PSEG’s score of 26 out of a possible 100 on the J.D. Power Sustainability Index comes despite strong science-backed goals by PSEG’s corporate parent, Public Service Enterprise Group, said Andrew Heath, senior director of utilities intelligence at J.D. Power.  PSEG tied for 26th with three other utilities of the 36 utilities whose customers were surveyed for the study.

Heath, in an interview with Newsday, said the relatively low score could signal a rocky road as PSEG implements grid-owner LIPA’s green-energy plans, such as a time-of-use rate program aimed at reducing peak-load energy demand. LIPA has said it plans to mandate the program for most residential customers by the end of 2024.

Heath said the problem isn’t that PSEG and LIPA lack a plan for a green-energy conversion of the Long Island electric grid. “They absolutely do” have a plan, he said. “But do they have the support of customers” to roll out that plan? Heath asked. “The answer is, compared to everyone else, no, it’s not as strong as it needs to be.”

Heath said PSEG “needs to communicate better, increase awareness of the plans they’ve got, and provide customers with clear guidance about what individual customers can do to be part of the plan and how they can help out.”

Elizabeth Flagler,  a PSEG spokeswoman, said, "Without paid access to the report we can’t comment on the findings," including "the criteria or the customer base used to determine the rank." Flagler pointed out that PSEG is "included in several prestigious national rankings, including the top-ranked utility in the 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2022."

PSEG’s score includes both the Long Island and New Jersey operations, J.D. Power said in a statement. Of the 1,800 interviews conducted of PSEG customers for the survey, around 800 were Long Islanders, Heath said. Few companies received high marks in the survey, with the top-ranked company, NextEra, receiving a 35.

Overall, the survey found “persistently low” customer awareness of plans and programs by utilities nationwide aimed at addressing climate goals. Meanwhile, J.D. Power said, use of the programs was “stubbornly low” by both residential and business customers: just 6% of residential and 28% of business customers. That despite the finding that most customers “care about climate change,” JD Power found.


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